Dehydration might be more than the simplified eight-glasses-a-day – especially when it comes to the battle of the sexes. As a matter of fact, how much water your body needs daily is a bit more complicated and yes, gender does matter.
About 55% of women’s, compared with that of 60% of men’s, body weight is made up of water and women weigh on average 15% less than men too. Water is needed in every single bodily function – including flushing toxins from our organs, carrying nutrients to your cells, cushioning joints, and helping with digestion. And if you don’t consume enough water, in severe cases, dizziness, confusion and even seizures can be brought on.
In a 2010 study on water intake at the University of Connecticut, women suffered worse concentration in accessibility testing, with mild dehydration, than to men. But in the same year, a study published in Experiment Physiology found that women only start sweating when exercising at a higher temperature than men, which may lead to women being able to conserve water better. The results found that when it came hydration, gender and body size do made a difference.
So how much is enough?
Every person’s water intake will be different as needs vary on body size, activity, the amount and types of foods that are consumed, and even the air temperature as we head into the hotter summer months. There is no set amount that is right for everyone but there are some basic guidelines. The average, healthy adult in a temperate climate would need an adequate daily fluid intake of:
- Around 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
- Around 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
This recommendation includes other beverages and food, as about 20% of our daily fluids usually come from the above.
However, you might need to modify this based on several factors:
- Exercise: When activity that makes you sweat is involved, you need to drink extra water to cover that water loss. It’s important to drink water before, during and after a workout.
- Environment: In hot or humid weather conditions additional fluids are required. Dehydration is a risk too, especially at high altitudes.
- Overall health: Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, for example when sick. Rehydration solutions are needed and recommended best by doctors.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, you need additional water to stay hydrated.
How do you know if you are drinking enough water?
- Thirst: When you are feeling thirsty, you’re already 1-2% dehydrated.
- Body weight: Weigh yourself consecutively for several days in the mornings and take an average weight. Look for three similar weights – this will be your base weight. Going forward, weigh yourself and take note of any changes. If you are 0.5 kg down, you are half a liter (500ml) dehydrated.
- Urine: If the colour of your urine is light, your body is releasing water, meaning you are well hydrated. However, if it is dark, it is time to start drinking more fluids. When clear, you’re probably drinking too much.
Does the source of your water matter?
It’s true that the quality of your water is important, and this is often in the spotlight in South Africa. Since various parts of South Africa use different water treatment methods, and not all Blue Drop Status’ get evaluated at the same time, we aren’t going to advocate for bottled water over municipal water, or vice versa. Bottled waters also vary according to source, filtration and processing. But what is always consistent is that water is cooled, condensed and cultivated from the atmosphere.
“Quality-wise our water is extremely pure, and we’ve got a very good Ph of 8.3,” says founder and managing director of Aquasky, Brendan Williamson. “Making our water from the air gives it a totally unique taste which is very neutral on the palate. In spring waters, you get different tastes and different textures because of the ground quality where it comes from.”
To find out more about Aquasky and the product range, please visit https://aquasky.co.za/ .